Emerson Palmieri- Italy
The 24-year old left-back was born in Santos, and came up through the ranks of Santos’ exceptional talent hub, to make his debut for the junior teams and the U-17 Brazilian team. He played 33 times for Santos before moving to Palermo, and then to AS Roma in 2015, at the age of 20 and quickly caught the eyes with his technical abilities. However, he knew his chance to play for Brazil was a distant dream as he had Marcelo, Alex Sandro, and Felipe Luis ahead in the pecking order.
Understandably, he switched to Italy in 2017, and has finally made his debut against Portugal as a sub after being set back by injuries twice.
Rodrigo Moreno- Spain
The Spanish striker has been in excellent form for Valencia for some time now, and the left footed attacker also played a part in Spain’s World Cup campaign in 2018. Son of Adalberto Machado, former Flamengo star, Rodrigo moved to Spain when he was small, and started to play for Flamengo, joined Celta Vigo after some time, and then joined the Real Madrid Castilla. He never made it to the senior side, but played for Porto where he gained fame, and then moved to Valencia.
Rodrigo played for Spain U-19 and U-21 team alongside the likes of Isco, Thiago, and other current Spanish players. He is a regular in the Spain squad now, and has scored 4 times in his last 15 matches.
Mainly remembered as a fringe player in the Germany squad, Cacau made a decent career out of his limited talent. Born in Brazil, Cacau spent his best time in Germany with VFB Stuttgart where he spent 11 seasons, and won the league with them in 2006-07. He was on the fringes of Brazil squad but never made it because of the luxury Brazil had at that time.
He switched to Germany in 2009, and went on to be a part of their 2010 campaign where they finished third, with Cacau scoring against Australia in the group stage. By the end of his career he represented Germany 23 times and netted 6 times.
The presence of Jorginho would glorified the Brazilian midfield, but sadly Jorginho was never interested to play for Brazil, and he went on to make his debut with Italy under Mancini. Jorginho moved to Italy at the age of 15 despite being born in Brazil, and made a career there and expressed his desire to don the famed Blue jersey.
Tite has been an admirer of Jorginho, but he put everything down and turned to play for Italy, and since then has been a lynchpin in their system. Jorginho is of Italian descent due to his great-great-grandfather, and his grandfather also had Italian citizenship, which made the process easier.
Marcos Senna- Spain
Not known for the typical Spanish flair, Senna was one of Spain’s vital cog once, although he had the opportunity to play for Brazil as well. Born in Brazil, Senna moved to Villareal in 2002 after playing for various Brazilian clubs. He found his calling there, and was one of their best players ever. 2006 saw him earn Spanish citizenship, and he was immediately included in the 2006 World Cup Squad.
His best time with Spain came in 2008 where he helped the team with the cup, and was named by many as the best player of the tournament. Injuries and the talent of Busquets was enough to show him the door, and by the time he quit he had only played 28 times for Spain.
Thiago Alcantara- Spain
Eldest son of Mazinho, Thiago was born in Italy but was eligible to represent Brazil, but it was Mazinho who persuaded his son to play for Spain after graduating from the famed La Masia in Barcelona. A typical Spanish central midfielder, Thiago is a delight to watch when in full flow, and he has already earned 31 caps, and has been aided by the retirement of Xavi, Iniesta, and Alonso.
His younger brother Rafinha, also a product of La Masia, chose to represent Brazil, and has been a fringe player for them.
Thiago Motta- Italy
The lanky defensive midfielder personifies lazy elegance. Motta was signed by Barcelona from Club Atletico Juventus, and was a vital player for them with 139 games to his belt, before he was shipped to Atletico Madrid in 2009, but a year into his new club he chose to move to Genoa, and then to Inter Milan, where he won the treble in his debut season.
Motta due to his Italian ancestry from the side of his grandfather was eligible to play for Italy, and despite playing for Brazil U-23 he chose to represent Italy. He could not make the cut in 2010 due to the lengthy process, but made his debut in 2011. He played 30 times for Italy before retiring.
The hothead defender Pepe, was born in Brazil, but made his debut with Martimo in the Portuguese league, before moving to Porto where he gained fame. He moved to Real several seasons later and was a constant presence alongside Ramos. Pepe was eligible to play for Brazil, but he was never called up for any age tournaments. His father had revealed that Dunga wanted Pepe in his team, but he refused as by 2007 he gained Portuguese citizenship, and since then made 103 appearances, sixth highest in terms of numbers.
He won the Euro 2016 with Portugal, and played some of his best football at that time, with a MoM performance against France in the finals.
Diego Costa- Spain
Another Brazil born Spanish player, Diego Costa is known to be a controversial yet lethal striker. He was eligible to represent Brazil, and even played in two friendlies prior to the 2014 World Cup, but to his surprise then coach Scolari chose to put Fred and Jo above him for the 23-man squad. Angered and clearly unhappy about this, Costa had already gained Spanish citizenship during his time with Atletico Madrid and chose to represent them instead. He has hit the straps with Spain with 10 goals in 24 games already.
The decorated midfielder who was as fluid a player can get, Deco is another Brazil born Portuguese player who couldn’t get a chance to show his talent due to the presence of Rivaldo, Kaka, Juninho, and others. He moved to Porto from Corinthians and grew into a complete midfielder there. He chose to represent Portugal after failing to earn a call in the 2002 World Cup.
His inclusion was highly debated and triggered many Porto rivals, but he made his debut against Brazil in 2003, and scored a beautiful free kick to help them defeat 2-1 since 1966. Luis Figo wasn’t a big fan of his inclusion in 2004 Euro, but he was proved wrong as Portugal reached the finals, and Deco played a major role in it. Deco had scored six times by the time he reached his 75 caps, and can be considered one of the best players of the 21st century and Portugal in particular.